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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 11, 2014 at 1:03 PM

From star receiver to starting cornerback, UW’s John Ross III makes full-time switch to defense

John Ross III

The move Jimmy Lake has lobbied for since he first arrived at UW has become a reality:

John Ross III is a cornerback.

“I’ve been working on this free-agent acquisition since January. My agent talked to his agent and we got everything squared away,” Lake, UW’s defensive backs coach, joked Tuesday. “To me, the sky’s the limit with this guy. He could be an exceptional corner. He looks like a lot of the guys I coached in the National Football League. He’s got that perfect size — that 5-10 to 6-1 range. Quick. Fast. Ball skills. Tough. And I’m excited to coach him.”

Ross, a sophomore receiver and returner, played as a reserve cornerback for the first time this season against UCLA on Saturday and didn’t have a single pass thrown his way. Lake said Ross had one missed assignment, but otherwise gave Ross strong reviews.

“He’s obviously still young in terms of learning all the techniques and all the schemes, but a lot of credit goes to him for meeting extra last week and really diving into our game plan and being able to execute on a big stage against a really good opponent and being able to perform really, really well,” Lake said.

Ross is now scheduled to start at corner for the first time in his UW career against Arizona on Saturday (12:30 p.m. PT, FOX). The Huskies are desperate for help in the defensive secondary after star cornerback Marcus Peters was dismissed from the program last week.

Ross, UW’s leading receiver, said learning the technical aspects of cornerback has been the biggest adjustment for him, but he said he’s happy to make the move.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said.

Ross also had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against UCLA.

“He’s just got so much natural ability,” Lake said. “He’s quick, he’s fast, he’s sticky; he’s got great ball skills. I’m real excited about him.”

A couple other practice notes:

  • Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski sent Shaq Thompson a text message early this week: “Welcome back to the dark side,” he wrote. Thompson is indeed scheduled to start at linebacker again, after spending the past three weeks as the Huskies’ full-time running back.
  • Kwiatkowski said star defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha again practiced Tuesday and should be available to play against Arizona.
  • Redshirt freshman Jermaine Kelly, a starting cornerback in UW’s first two games, did some running drills in practice Tuesday for the first time since having surgery on his broken ankle in September. He remains out for the season.
Jimmy Lake

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